Friday, August 31, 2007

Benazir Bhutto


There has been one piece of good news this week, amid the gloom.
See HERE
"Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, has agreed to drop corruption charges against Benazir Bhutto to allow her to return to Islamabad as part of a power-sharing deal, the former prime minister has claimed.

Ms Bhutto, the leader of the Pakistan People's Party who lives in self-imposed exile in London, and Gen Musharraf, who is beset by challenges to his eight-year rule, are near to a deal that would pave the way for the general to be re-elected as president and Ms Bhutto to return to contest parliamentary elections."


and HERE, from Nathan Gardels

"LONDON -- By returning to Pakistan and leading her party in October's elections, the pro-American Bhutto will fundamentally alter the way the "war on terror" is being waged in this frontline state. She offered me this analysis in London on Wednesday:

There are moments in history that prove decisive and mark a turning point for the future. The American Civil War was such a moment in the United States. The fall of the Berlin Wall was such a moment for Germany and the European Union. Today is Pakistan's moment of truth. Decisions made now will determine whether extremism and terrorism can be contained in Pakistan to save it from internal collapse. The stability of not just Pakistan but the civilized world is at stake."

I've long admired Benazir Bhutto. I don't fully understand the corruption scandals which led to her exile, and somehow doubt that things were exactly as portrayed by her adversaries. Her platform was always leftist, including food for the hungry, health care, jobs, slum clearance and a monthly minimum wage. She has been opposed by Islamic fundamentalists.

I can see only good coming from her return to her homeland. She has suffered a great deal of hardship in life for the sake of her political career. See HERE for more detail and an excellent summary of her life so far.



Ms Bhutto has a natal stellium in Libra at midheaven - very good placements for politician or diplomat. Three natal planets in Cancer, including Mars within 5 degrees of Sun in Gemini, Jupiter also in Gemini, and Venus in Taurus.
The mix of Libra, Cancer and Gemini indicates a beautiful blend of tact, compassion and caring with an agile mind.

The current Mars/Jupiter opposition is touching Ms Bhutto's natal Jupiter at 10 Gemini - it must surely have something to do with this turn of events?

These paragraphs give us some idea of what she has gone through in the past - the period during the summer of 1981 she describes below coincided with the transit of
Pluto over her natal Moon/Neptune/Saturn conjunction at midheaven, in Libra !

"Bhutto's persecution began in earnest after the dismissal of her father's government in 1977 and his execution in 1979 as she intensified her denunciations of Zia and sought to organize a political movement against him. Repeatedly put under house arrest, she was finally imprisoned under solitary confinement in a desert cell in Sindh province during the summer of 1981. Bhutto described the hellish conditions in her wall less cage in "Daughter of Destiny":

"The summer heat turned my cell into an oven. My skin split and peeled, coming off my hands in sheets. Boils erupted on my face. My hair, which had always been thick, began to come out by the handful. Insects crept into the cell like invading armies. Grasshoppers, mosquitoes, stinging flies, bees and bugs came up through the cracks in the floor and through the open bars from the courtyard. Big black ants, cockroaches, seething clumps of little red ants and spiders. I tried pulling the sheet over my head at night to hide from their bites, pushing it back when it got too hot to breathe."

Released in 1984, she went into exile in Britain until 1986, when martial law was lifted in Pakistan"


A quotation from this very brave lady:

"You can imprison a man, but not an idea. You can exile a man, but not an idea. You can kill a man, but not an idea."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Astrological Houses

Astrological houses can be a thorny subject among astrologers. There are so many systems from which to choose. Placidus, Porphyry, Koch, Equal House, Campanus..... and others. As I understand it, the differences lie in the way the house cusps are calculated rather than in interpretation.

An excellent article on the history of this subject by Dr. Shepherd Simpson goes into great detail, and is very informative.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

DiCaprio and "The 11th Hour"

We are unlikely to see Leonardo DiCaprio's new film "The 11th Hour", which deals with potential environmental traumas the Earth faces. Dallas is the nearest city showing this film - that's a long drive from here. In any case it would be like preaching to the choir. That's the problem - the people who rush to see this film, and "An Inconvenient Truth" are the people who really don't need to. Those who need to see them don't bother. We've passed along DVD versions of "An Inconvenient Truth" to family and friends as our tiny contribution towards spreading the word.

Leonardo DiCaprio deserves praise for his efforts. Reviews I've seen so far are reasonably positive, and the film has come along just as "An Inconvenient Truth" was beginning to seem stale. Publicity and discussion about the new film will keep these issues to the forefront of our minds. Political debates have merely skimmed over this topic lightly, if it's been mentioned at all.



Leonardo has natal Sun, Venus and Mars in Scorpio 2nd house, with Mercury, Moon, Uranus and Pluto in Libra, 1st house, ascendant in Libra. His natal Saturn is in Cancer trining Sun and Venus. Astrologer Jeff Jawer's assessment of his chart can be read HERE.

I like the combination of Scorpio and Libra in a personality, especially for politics and public service. There's charm, balance, depth, intensity and determination there. Dennis Kucinich has this this combination. Hillary Clinton has the Scorpio, but only Neptune in Libra. I reckon she lacks the necessary charm and balance - though with the amount of celebrity backing she's getting, no doubt she'll continue to do well in the race to the presidency.....just because she's a woman. Sigh. Even the ultra liberal Huffington Post is getting more like "The Hillary Clinton Show" as weeks go by. I'd have thought that they, more than anyone on the internet, would have given the Democratic candidates equal space. But no, they are just as bad as the rest of the media.

The USA desperately needs a new president who will give environmental matters priority. I don't see such a person yet, in the absence of Al Gore. It's possible he/she might be holding back. Hard-line policies to combat threats to the environment have the potential to make their proponent seriously unpopular. Who knows, perhaps Madam Clinton has a plan - Al Gore as VP (again). That would improve matters a lot!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Eclipsed

We stood outside on the driveway watching as the lunar eclipse became total, around ten minutes to five. It was a beautiful sight. We had a grandstand view, and were the only humans around apart from a lady walking her elderly Dalmation.

With regard to the Moon, and eclipses in general, I have noticed that my life has seemed to move to a cyclic rhythm, in tune with my natal lunar nodes, and pre-natal eclipse (Taurus/Scorpio) - this could be due entirely, or in part, to the fact that Uranus (Sun's ruler) is conjunct South node, so this pattern may not be the same for everybody. What I have not noticed, though, are any significant events arising from eclipses which touched natal planets or points, other than the nodal ones. I guess this is just my personal pattern.

Today's lunar eclipse occurred in my relocated first house (natal 9th house), 2 degrees from natal Jupiter. I'll remain watchful over the coming weeks, just in case I can identify anything eclipse-related.

A past eclipse that I remember particularly well was on 4 May 2004. A Lunar Eclipse at 14.42 Scorpio, just one degree from my natal North node of the Moon. When arranging for our civil marriage, I noticed that the proposed date I'd given the Registrar (back in England) was the date of that eclipse! After researching electional astrology with regard to weddings, I decided that this would never do. I went back, feeling a little sheepish, to ask to amend the date, and gave my reason. The Registrar sighed and smiled wanly as I uneasily whispered, "We don't want any bad luck, do we?" We were wed on 30 April that year, and things worked out well. That was one eclipse that changed my life - and how !

In honour of the current eclipse season, here's a video I found on YouTube -"Eclipse" by Pink Floyd, with added graphics - I couldn't have done it better myself !

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mercury's People

I have among my collection of secondhand books a slim volume, "An Astrology Primer for the Millions", by American astrologer of the 20th century, Carl Payne Tobey. It really looks like a primer, too. I wonder if the look was intentional, tongue-in cheek ? The print is larger than normal, easy line spacing, and the bookcover is plasticised - wipeable for sticky fingers ? The contents are hardly kindergarten level though!

Mr. Tobey grouped the zodiac signs in pairs in order to explain their meanings: "Two signs will represent opposite phases of the same principle". The signs are paired thus: Cancer/Leo. Gemini/Virgo. Taurus/Libra. Aries/Scorpio. Pisces/Sagittarius. Aquarius/Capricorn.

Apart from Cancer/Leo ruled by Moon and Sun , the other pairs are traditionally ruled by the same planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, respectively.

To seasoned astrologers this is basic knowledge, of course. Even a novice like myself knows the principle of planetary rulership - yet I'd never really compared each pair in the way Carl Payne Tobey does. He does point out, by the way, that in this context, we are to understand "rule" as in measure, rather than "rule" as in king.

As the Sun has just recently moved into the zodiac sign of Virgo, I'll mention a few of Mr Tobey's remarks about Virgo and its partner, Gemini, as examples. Bearing in mind, always, that these remarks hold good for any Virgo or Gemini emphasis in a chart - not simply the Sun in Virgo or Gemini. For instance, a person with three planets in Virgo, but Sun in, say Libra, could come over as more Virgoan than a person with only Virgo Sun, especially if the Virgo planets fall near to one of the angles (ascendant, midheaven and points opposite).

An extract from the chapter on Virgo/Gemini:

As a sign, Virgo can do the worrying, but Virgo lives on a material rather than on an abstract plane.......they know the rules of etiquette and abide by them. They can be hard workers and they will keep the work well organised. They are good observers of all the details, how a word is spelled, where the knife and fork should be, the date and time of day when Joe and Mary were married. If you want a good secretary, get a Virgo girl. (Note from me - let's not be sexist - make that "or boy"!) Sticking to rules and routine doesn't bother Virgo much, but can drive Gemini crazy. Virgo can make a great proofreader. The sign won't miss a mistake. Virgo wants things to work on the material plane. Gemini does too, but not enought to stay with it and frustrate himself. Virgo is more money conscious, it likes bargains, and could often become a sucker for one. Virgo can tolerate routine, while Gemini can dislike it. Virgo is much more concerned with what other people think. Gemini will listen to what others think but won't be concerned about it.
Virgo sees cause in matter. Gemini sees cause in ideas. As a rule Gemini will see the humorous or ridiculous side of things, while Virgo will see the more serious side. These are both mental signs, but a different kind of mentality.

Among...the two signs, we do not particularly find the executive type. Gemini isn't particularly interested in ruling over others...Virgo needs somebody behind to make some of the decisions and back them up."

(I've omitted or amended some masculine references only to satisfy my own Aquarian need for equality. In the era this book was written, equality of the sexes was barely in its infancy.)

"These two signs are closely related to the nervous system. They are the signs of communication, but the mind of Virgo is built to deal with material things, while the mind of Gemini deals with ideas, principles and abstractions. They can both be restless, but Gemini is a very restless sign. It is difficult for these people to sit still. They have to be moving around. Virgo is a disciplined sign. The Virgo lives in accord with the rules, even when not understanding what they are all about. Gemini is more likely to change the rules for each occasion, or for each day. Gemini wants to know why, while Virgo is more often satisfied with the authorities, more inclined to go along with the authorities."

"You may find writers born under Gemini, but they are usually writers of short material. They don't like to stay with any one subject for too long. For this reason they are never monotonous. You usually find quite a number of these people around a newspaper office. They are not dogmatists. .......One of their great weaknesses is that they can't make up their minds, or having made up their minds, they change them. The sign is said to represent a double personality......there can be a bit of the hobo in Gemini. Travel can be good for the Gemini soul. The Gemini mind thinks fast and it can go around in many circles. "


I have no planets in Gemini and only Neptune in Virgo, so I cannot vouch personally for any of the above, except to say that my grandfather, and a couple of my friends all have/had Gemini strongly featured in their charts, and the above appears to be quite accurate for them. I worked with a Sun Virgo for many years, who seems, looking back, very Gemini-like, whilst another, Sun Gemini, friend in the UK is distinctly Virgo-like. Now that's puzzling!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Waiting for Venus

I'm not sure whether the current Venus retrograde period has any connection to a couple of minor irritations I'm experiencing just now, but it is a possibility. Venus does relate to money, as well as love and beauty.

There's a good article by astrologer Rob Tillett on Venus Retrograde 2007 HERE.

One of my current irritations: I posted my application for US citizenship to the appropriate service centre on Thursday 26 July, the day before the current retro period period began. My packet, containing a cheque for $400 and all required enclosures was signed for at USCIS (Texas) on Monday 30 July. To date my cheque has not been cashed. I did expect a longer wait than normal for acknowledgement, due to possible flood of applications trying to avoid July 30's hefty fee increase. I didn't expect such a long wait before someone even got around to opening my packet! My wait for citizenship is looking likely to stretch well into next year, and perhaps even beyond that.

Thanks a bunch Venus retrograde! I wonder if the coming lunar eclipse might help to shake things up - it's going to occur almost opposite my 6 Pisces natal Jupiter.

Looking back to a previous Venus retrograde time, between mid-May and August 2004 - I find, to my surprise, that I was in a comparable situation then ! I'd just mailed my application for a US immigration visa based on my recent marriage to HeWhoKnows. We were both back in England, and feeling anxious that things would get underway quickly so that I could sell my house, pack up and head west. I'm not quite as as anxious about things this time around, but it'd be nice to get my fingerprinting behind me soon, so's we can plan a short trip. Oh - and I really would like to be able to vote in 2008 - it's looking more and more unlikely as weeks go by.

The other incident (or coincidence) which might be Venus related is my discovery, just over a week ago, that my UK based credit card had been fraudulently used for gambling purposes on 12 occasions before HSBC noticed and cancelled my card - causing a few of my transactions to be refused, and leaving me cardless until postal services from the UK catch up and deliver a new one to me in the USA.

Get a move on Venus - please!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bill Hicks - anger with humour

A few words about the late Bill Hicks will fit in well this week. I must be under the influence of the current Mars/Jupiter opposition! I've blogged about angry writers, the Johns Steinbeck and Osborne (here), about how anger is integral in human nature (here), another Aries/Saggittarius character, Van Gogh, yesterday, and now I'm looking at a chart with Sun plus 3 planets in Sagittarius closely conjunct Mars, the chart of a wonderful, angry comedian. None of this was planned, by the way. I'm just "doin' what comes naturally"!



(12 noon chart - no birth time available).


When I first came to the USA I'd never heard of Bill Hicks, in spite of the fact that he had made some very successful appearances in the UK . Surprisingly, HeWhoKnows hadn't heard of him either. So when we rented a DVD of his, out of curiosity, soon after I arrived in the US, we were impressed - well HWK was impressed, I was well and truly hooked. We were puzzled that at the end of the DVD there was an implication that Bill Hicks was no longer with us. Searches on the net informed me that he had died in 1994, aged only 32, of pancreatic cancer. What a tragedy!

Just this week we listened on-line to an excellent BBC programme about Bill's life.(HERE). I often think about him, his views and his jokes. What would he be saying about the current situation in the USA and the world ? The air would be well and truly blue!

"Bill was part social critic, part comedian, part preacher. As he himself said, he was Chomsky with dick jokes. Hicks stripped away the lies and deceit our governments have woven for us, laying bare grim truths, laced with his biting, trademark wit. Bill's humour though sometimes harsh, was not intended to upset, more to bring people together: "The best kind of comedy to me is when you make people laugh at things they've never laughed at, and also take a light into the darkened corners of people's minds, exposing them to the light. I thought the whole point of it was to make you feel un-alone." "http://sazmatazz.users.btopenworld.com/

Bill Hicks was born 16 December 1961, Valdosta, Georgia, USA.

Four personal planets in Sagittarius, three of them very closely conjoined. Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius in Aquarius (within minutes of my own natal Sun, by the way). You could hardly concoct a better astrological line-up to match the description above ! Add Saturn, at home in critical Capricorn and you have "the full set"!

The chart shape is "funnel" or "bucket", with the spout or handle at Moon in Aries - all that Sagittarian and Aquarian energy channelled through an impatient restless, often aggressive, Moon in Fire.

When Bill died on 26 February 1994 Uranus and Neptune at 24 and 22 Capricorn lay just 3 degrees from his natal Saturn. Those outer planets would have been hovering there throughout the time between diagnosis of terminal cancer and his death.

Another side of Bill:

The Bill Hicks Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and injured wildlife, predominantly in the Austin hill country area -- an area that Bill loved. Many people think of Bill as a bitter cynic, but nothing could be further from the truth. Bill loved wildlife and was a strong advocate of fighting the overpopulation crises that threatens all of our existence.
The Bill Hicks Foundation for Wildlife Rehabilitation gives us a way to make a difference, in a place that Bill loved, and we can still belong to the "People Who Hate People Party."
http://www.billhicks.org/billandanimals.html

There are several video clips from his performances on YouTube. Many are not for the delicate of ear or faint of heart! Here's a link to one that I especially enjoyed - I think it's from one of his UK performances back in the early 1990s. The more things change, the more they remain the same! Bill Hicks

Some quotes from the man himself:

"So there, we have figured it out, go back to bed America, your government has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed America, your government is in control again. Here, here's American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up. Go back to bed America, here's American Gladiators. Here's 56 channels of it. Watch these pituitary retards bang their fuckin skulls together and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go America, you are free... to do as we tell you. You are free, to do as we tell you."

.........................

And my favourite:

"The world is like a ride in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, "Hey - don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride..." And we... kill those people.

"We have a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up. Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and my family. This just has to be real. Just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. But it doesn't matter because: It's just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one.

Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace. Thank you very much, you've been great."


Bill Hicks December 16, 1961 -- February 26, 1994.

I say again - what a tragedy!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Vincent van Gogh and Kirk Douglas

When I look at the paintings of Vincent van Gogh the first thing I feel is energy, both from the colours he used and from his style of brush stroke. This is not one of your namby-pamby, delicate painters. He doesn't always paint in purely representative fashion, yet we know exactly what it is he is portraying, we don't need to interpret. The style of his later paintings (The Starry Night, as below, for example) came to be known as Expressionism: using exaggeration and distortion for emotional effect. What we get also, from Van Gogh, is that almost throbbing energy.



"Vincent van Gogh, for whom color was the chief symbol of expression, was born in Groot-Zundert, Holland. The son of a pastor, brought up in a religious and cultured atmosphere, Vincent was highly emotional and lacked self-confidence. Between 1860 and 1880, when he finally decided to become an artist, van Gogh had had two unsuitable and unhappy romances and had worked unsuccessfully as a clerk in a bookstore, an art salesman, and a preacher in the Borinage (a dreary mining district in Belgium), where he was dismissed for overzealousness. He remained in Belgium to study art, determined to give happiness by creating beauty."

Astrotheme gives his time of birth as 11am.
I wonder whether someone in 1853 would have time of birth recorded. He was the son of a pastor who would be unlikely to have any interest in astrology, but perhaps Van Gogh himself had made enquiries of his mother and mentioned the fact in correspondence. We can't be sure.

The main thrust of his chart comes from Aries, Taurus and Sagittarius. All energetic, dynamic signs, with a touch of aggression in the case of Aries and Taurus. Here, then, is the energy which can be felt from his paintings. The quote above mentions his lack of self confidence which gives weight to the 11am time of birth - Cancer ascendant can link to lack of confidence - I know this from experience.

The best known biographical movie about Van Gogh was "Lust for Life", in which Kirk Douglas played the lead. I've looked at Kirk Douglas's natal chart and noted a couple of strange coincidences.



Douglas - natal Mercury at 25 Sagittarius
Van Gogh - natal Jupiter 24 Sagittarius.

Douglas - natal Jupiter 25 Aries
Van Gogh - natal Mercury 25 Aries.

Mercury and Jupiter in trine, in almost identical degrees of Fire signs in both cases. Jupiter and Sagittarius connect very well to the exaggeration of Expressionist painting ! "Curiouser and couriouser!"

"Casting the lead role of Van Gogh was easy. Kirk Douglas, who by then has become Minnelli's favorite Hollywood actor, was ideal to play Van Gogh in both physique and temperament. As Minnelli recalls, "Once we got the green light to proceed with the picture, there was no question if Kirk would play Van Gogh. No other actor was even considered for the part." (SEE HERE)







Top: "The Starry Night". Middle: "Cafe Terrace at Night". Bottom:"Irises"

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"The Invasion" - a mixed message.

We saw "The Invasion" this week at the cinema. It's yet another re-make, this time re-hashing the story of a previous movie, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers".

Bearing in mind Pluto's entry into Capricorn and Saturn's imminent move into Virgo, I think we can all be pretty certain that we'll experience some kind of change in the near future, personally and/or communally. One hopes and trusts that the changes will not be as dramatic as those portrayed in this film.

The message I came away with was confusing. Initially, we see that if humans were forced into becoming placid, unemotional, almost robotic, losing all aggresion - it wouldn't be a good thing, it was something to fight against. Yet, once the enemy had been overcome and things got back to normal (as we know normal these days), there was a whisper of doubt, a vague look of unease as news of developments in Iraq and other dramas were once again reported in the media.

Would the world have been a better place had the enemy been victorious? In a couple of reviews of the movie critics said that this was the first ever sci-fi movie where they were actually on the side of the aliens. (Surely not, what about ET ?)

The message I drew from the film, eventually, reminded me that humans have an innate need for conflict, war, trouble.....and passion. Without these, we are not "whole". This IS in our astrology of course, courtesy mainly of Mars, its aspects and transits, in varying degrees for each individual. It's an integral part of our nature. This probably means that we'll never fully attain the beloved vision of a world without war. Our ultimate challenge, if we are to survive, will be for us to voluntarily overcome the baser parts of our human nature, and make our passions work only for good.

That was a serious message to cull from from a distinctly second-rate movie.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Quality, Character or Tone of the Planets.

In his book "Astrology for the Millions" American astrologer Grant Lewi put forward a theory which I hadn't come across before, but which makes a lot of sense to me. He considered that, especially with regard to transits of the outer planets, it is the length of time they spend in a particular position which is paramount in their influence upon matters on Earth, and not any inherent differences in the planets themselves.

He believed that the nature of the experience under transits of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto is substantially the same. "It is in reconciling the similarity of the experience with the lengthening out of the time process that you achieve an understanding of yourself, and of how to handle the influences"... of Uranus, Neptune, etc. as they come through the signs and houses and over the planets in your chart. He feels that, for instance, a Uranus transit to the Sun is essentially the same as a Saturn transit or even a Mars transit - the difference is in the time the planet remains in one place (over or in aspect to a natal planet or point).

Our bodies and minds are naturally conditioned to the fast transits of the inner planets and the Moon, and even to the relatively fast transits of Jupiter and Mars. By adulthood we have experienced several of these and instinctively, or subconsciously understand them. But when we experience a conjunction or hard aspect involving one of the outer planets, which lasts for much longer, it seems different. It is, but not in the ways we might first suppose - i.e. because Saturn's influence is said to be severe, Uranus brings the "unexpected", and Pluto is the transformer....etc. It's different because it lasts so much longer, but in truth the influence itself is the same in each case. Or so Mr Lewi theorises.

(From chapter 12 (page 376)"The Grand Strategy of Living - part 1: The Nature and Meaning of the Planets")

"It used to be stated, or implied, in the older astrological texts, that each of the Planets had a different quality, character, or tone, because of something inherent in its nature, Thus Saturn might have been said to have the quality of iron, hardness, weight; the character of sobriety or gloom; the tone of G-sharp Minor below middle C, or of the rumble of distant thunder. Mars might have been said to have the quality of hot steel, the character of courage or recklessness, and the tone of an awakening bugle. Whether these attributes emanated from the physio-chemical structure of the planets, which caused them to emit rays of a certain quality, or from other causes, was not clarified.

The premise seems to have been that each Planet had a quality inherent in itself, differentiating it and its influence from that of other Planets because of this self-contained quality.

Over a long period of study, in contact with numerous charts viewed experimentally and clinically, I have come to the conclusion that, so far as their astrological influence is concerned, the Planets do not differ in inherent quality. We know from the astronomers, physicists, spectrum-analysts, and chemists that the physical structure of the Planets is different, quantitatively, with respect to the percentages in which the elements are found in them and their atmospheres; and qualitatively, with respect to their stages of hotness, coolness, age, youth, formedness or non-formedness. It is possible that these differences do bear on their astrological influence.

However, consistent observation of planetary effects in a very large number of charts leads me to the conclusion that, whether or not Planets differ in their inherent character, their chief observable difference as they act in the chart is traceable directly to the difference in the rate of motion with which they pass through the Vitasphere...................."
(Grant Lewi calls the natal chart, or "map of your birth" the Vitasphere.)

"Once we disabuse our minds of the idea that Planets differ in quality, and base our view of the chart on their differences in rate of motion, we come to grips with the basic realities of the Vitasphere, with the meaning of planetary influences in the forming of character and the timing of opportunity."

That the effects of outer planet transits might have more to do with the length of their stay than with the traditional definition of the nature of that planet, seems logical enough. Pluto, Uranus and Saturn are broadly similar - they bring changes. This isn't surprising. Their motion is so slow as to make a visit from them to natal planets something unusual - a change in itself, and fundamental changes of outlook do occur at these times. Neptune is not as easy to see as a bringer of change though, or if it is, that change is of a particular type, specific to Neptune.

It's quite difficult to turn off the definitions imprinted in memory, in spite of trying I still tend to fall back on the traditional interpretations. I like Grant Lewi's theory though, it's well worth keeping in mind.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Angry Writers

I'm feeling pretty angry these days, and from articles and comments regularly appearing in the (liberal) press, so too are many others. Anger is always with us, I guess. After watching "The Grapes of Wrath" on DVD recently, and reading a little about John Steinbeck's other novels, I thought, "Now here's a REALLY angry author". Then I recalled English writer, John Osborne, playwright and screenwriter, known in the 1950s as the original "angry young man".

He is best known for writing the play "Look Back in Anger" which captured the angry and rebellious nature of the postwar generation in the UK, who were unhappy with things as they were in the decades following World War II. John Osborne was a constant critic of the establishment in Britain, the monarchy, the pretentions and affectations which came with the class system.

I'm not altogether sure that John Osborne "walked the talk", and he does strike me as being very self-centered, whereas John Steinbeck's focus was always outward, towards the poor and needy.

Steinbeck was very, very angry. He wrote about the apalling conditions under which many ordinary folk in the USA had to struggle to live, especially during the time of the dust bowl in Oklahoma, during the Great Depression, and of the stoic determination of those good people. What they faced in those days make our concerns seem petty by comparison.

I wondered if I'd find any common thread in the natal charts of these two writers whose anger shone through their work.

John Steinbeck born February 27 1902, Salinas, California, 3pm.




John Osborne born Dec. 12 1929, London. No time known.




There are some similarities, the most significant is that Osborne's natal Sun lies just 3 degrees from angry Mars, in Sagittarius. Steinbeck had natal Sun within 6 degrees of Mars, in Pisces.(Both Sagittarius and Pisces were traditionally ruled by Jupiter)

Osborne had Mercury(the writers' planet) conjunct hard-headed, critical Saturn (at very end of Sagittarius and 1st degree of Capricorn(Saturn's home sign). Steinbeck had Mercury in humane and idealistic Aquarius, semi-sextile Saturn in Capricorn.

Those links between Sun/Mars and Mercury/Saturn are what I was hoping to find. There are some other similarities. Osborne's Sun is at 20* Sagittarius, and Steinbeck's Uranus is in exactly the same degree of that sign. (My own natal Venus is there too -and I'm writing about them both!)

Both men had Uranus (revolutionary, rebellious) trine Venus (in Fire, or Fire/Air)

The nodes of the Moon in both charts are Taurus/Scorpio, 7* for Steinbeck, 9* for Osborne, but they are reversed, Steinbeck's North node is in Scorpio, Osborne's in Taurus. I'm not sure whether this has any relevance or not. Steinbeck's natal Moon lay very close to his Scorpio North node, which probably served to emphasise the passion he felt for his concerns. Without Osborne's time of birth it's not possible to say how close his natal Moon was to Taurus North node, a birthtime of 9pm or later would put them quite close though.

...........................................

(Wonderful, passionate writing from from Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath")

"Then from the tents, from the crowded barns, groups of sodden men went out, their clothes slopping rags, their shoes muddy pulp. They splashed out through the water, to the towns, to the country stores, to the relief offices, to beg for food, to cringe and beg for food, to beg for relief, to try to steal, to lie. And under the begging, and under the cringing, a hopeless anger began to smolder. And in the little towns pity for the sodden men changed to anger, and anger at the hungry people changed to fear of them. Then sheriffs swore in deputies in droves, and orders were rushed for rifles, for tear gas, for ammunition. Then the hungry men crowded the alleys behind the stores to beg for bread, to beg for rotting vegetables, to steal when they could."

From a review HERE"People discuss the impact this play had to this day. Books have been written about it. At the time, in the 50s in England, there were a group of writers who were referred to (and perhaps they referred to themselves as such) as 'angry young men'. They took a rebellious stance towards society, they were critical towards handed-down mores and beliefs ... not just critical. They raged against them. Not only did these writers rage against society - they raged against themselves, their disappointments in their own achievements, in who they were, in how they turned out. The play Look Back in Anger became a lightning rod for that generation."

There are some YouTube presentations about both authors. Here are links to a couple:

Grapes of Wrath

John Osborne

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Chiron Story

Some years ago, after investigating what astrologers had to say about Chiron, known in myth as "the Wounded Healer", I came to the conclusion that, if it works in the natal chart for some people -fine, but in my own chart Chiron seemed to me to be inactive or irrelevant.

Martin Lass describes Chiron HERE

"A native American prophecy states that when the planet of Healing is discovered in the sky, the ancient sacred warrior teachings will return to the Earth. In 1977, Chiron, the Planet of Healing, was discovered. (Chiron is a cometary body orbiting mainly between Saturn and Uranus.)

Chiron's issues and affairs concern health and disease and their relationship to our spiritual journey through life."

When I was born Chiron lay at 5.17 Cancer, 10 degrees from natal ascendant, quincunx natal Sun at 6.46 Aquarius, and trine Jupiter at 6.03 Pisces. Natally Chiron was in 12th house, after relocation (in 2004) it slid around to 5th house.

None of the interpretations I read, of Chiron in sign or house, or by aspect, fitted me - not even loosely. It wasn't until last year that I began to wonder if Chiron does have a significant role.

Last summer, between mid-July and early August transiting Chiron conjoined my natal Aquarius Sun. Also from mid-July to early August, on advice from my doctor, I underwent a series of examinations (x-ray and ultra-sound) to discover whether I had a thyroid problem, after "something" showed up in a routine blood test.

It turned out that I don't have a problem (I never thought I did, but we have to assume that doctors know best). What was discovered though is that I was born with one side of the thyroid gland missing. The thyroid is apparently a gland with 2 lobes. In the course of my life the existing single lobe of the gland has enlarged slightly, causing a flag to be raised in my blood analysis. After other checks on general health, it was decided that all is well, or well enough.

This little episode brought the solution to a childhood mystery. Until my twenties I was overweight - not obsese, but heavier than most of my peers, though I didn't eat a lot, I was quite picky in fact. My defective thyroid must have been the culprit. Being a sensitive kid (Cancer rising) I took my difference from my contemporaries to heart. A feeling of inferiority lingered for many years, even after Aquarian bloody-minded effort brought my weight within the"ideal" range , where it has remained ever since.

Did transiting Chiron's spotlight on my natal Sun illuminate the hidden (12th house) cause of a childhood "wound" ? This could all be pure coincidence, of course, yet that exact timing with Chiron's transit was very spooky!

During the past week I received a call from our local hospital to say that after routine mammogram a couple of "spots" were found and further evaluation was needed.
I attended, last Thursday, for a second ("tighter"...eeeeek!) mammogram and ultra-sound investigation. Outcome - all clear - a couple of small cysts. Phew! Transiting Chiron is now at around 12 Aquarius, 6 degrees from natal Sun, sextile natal Saturn(12 Aries), quncunx ascendant(15 Cancer), and square Uranus (13 Taurus). I have no idea how to put the pieces of that jigsaw together, but I'm greatly relieved that there is no wound to heal!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Why So Subtle?


In this article "Subtle Songs of Protest hit a High Note" by Chris Macias
he discusses some current protest songs, compares them with protest songs of the 1960s and remarks:

"The difference between the protest songs of the 1960s - think “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire or Edwin Starr’s “War” - and today’s is that these newer messages tend to come in more subtle musical packages. And they can be so hummable that people may mouth the words and never know they’re dissing the president."

and later says

"More overt protest anthems may be coming soon. After the umpteenth song about partying and summer love - and with approval ratings for the Iraq war continuing to tank - the pop music landscape is primed for an even bigger swell of anti-war tunes."

In the 1960s when protesters took to the streets, and protest songs were "hard core", Neptune lay in passionate Scorpio. Now we have Neptune in cooler, though idealistic, Aquarius, and in mutual reception with Uranus in Neptune's home sign Pisces. This ought to be a good atmosphere for imaginative protest and rebellion. Will the writer's prediction of more overt anti-war tunes come true as Saturn moves into conscientious Virgo and Pluto mixes it up in stable, old fashioned Capricorn ? We shall see. I have my doubts, somehow the caring isn't universally passionate enough these days.

Here are the lyrics (written by P.F. Sloan) to Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction" from 1965 - the good ol' days of REAL protest songs:
(On YouTube it's at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39ESOKkU1ho
The eastern world it is explodin',
violence flarin', bullets loadin',
you're old enough to kill but not for votin',
you don't believe in war, what's that gun you're totin',
and even the Jordan river has bodies floatin',
but you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

Don't you understand, what I'm trying to say?
Can't you see the fears that I'm feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there's no running away,
There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
take a look around you, boy, it's bound to scare you, boy,
and you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood's so mad, feels like coagulatin',
I'm sittin' here, just contemplatin',
I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
handful of Senators don't pass legislation,
and marches alone can't bring integration,
when human respect is disintegratin',
this whole crazy world is just too frustratin',
and you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
but when you return, it's the same old place,
the poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
you can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace,
hate your next-door-neighbour, but don't forget to say grace,
and you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.
no no you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bringing Kucinich to Center Stage

It appears to me that presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is being sidelined or ignored by the media. This is due to mainstream media's concentration on Democratic candidates with corporate backing and lots of $$$$$ - y'all know who they are. We are told they are the "front-runners". We are told, if anything about Kucinich, that he is "unelectable". Who will benefit from spreading this word? Certainly not the people of the USA, who should be left to draw their own conclusions about that, after reading and listening to what he has to say about the kind of America he would aim for, were he to become president.

Dennis Kucinich may not have the commanding presence of an Al Gore, nor his background, nor his $$$$$$$, but what he does have is the courage to put what money he has where his mouth is, and actually try to bring American politics and the USA nearer to what its brave pioneers dreamed that it would become.

I believe that if people were left to make up their own minds, if each candidate was given equal time in televised debates, equal placement on stage(i.e. each moving along so that everyone has a period of time at center stage) and that journalists were required to give each candidate equal space, at least until nearer the primaries, there might be a very different picture before us now. Let's not forget that the election is in November 2008! These candidates have been campaigning for many months already and it's not even November 2007! The public ought not to be led by the nose by mainstream media - not yet! Not ever, really.

Dennis Kucinich's pages on MySpace are HERE - they carries videos and information all in one place for anyone who isn't aware of his views and policies.



I'd like to write about astrological indications over the coming months for Dennis, but feel my knowledge isn't adequate. I'll fall back on the following: from Astrodatabank (from whence the chart was copied), a comment added in 2005 by Abe Tenley .

The only thing I can add is that in April next year transiting Uranus will conjoin Dennis's natal Moon. Perhaps that will bring a significant change - one way or the other.

Abe Tenley 11/6/2005 Nov 6, 2005
"Speculative predictions:
He will play a more prominent role in the 2008 presidential elections than he did in the 2004 elections. Starting in July or August 2007 he will gain more national recognition. It seems unrealistic to me from the perspective of his current political standing that he could win the nomination and the election, but his chart does seem to support a lot of success and recognition in November 2008 and in the two years following (2009 and 2010). His chart also shows success for a partner at that time, so perhaps he could gain a vice-presidential nomination and election.
From 2010 to 2013 he may focus on relieving the suffering or poverty of the common people.
If any of these speculations actually unfold in national political events, I will provide the astrological logic for them."


Journalist John Nichols has this week written an excellent article entitled "An Attempt to Deceive Americans into Yet Another War", it appears in the Nation and here Common Dreams.
A large collection of comments follow the article, and indicate that Kucinich does have a band of faithful supporters, in spite of media's apparent attempt to sideline him.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Warhol & Lichtenstein - Uranian artists.

Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein were two of the best known names in Pop Art, a genre which emerged in the 1960s.

Adjectives such as radical, revolutionary, eccentric abound in articles about these artists, and their styles. We might expect to see Aquarius prominent in their charts - it isn't, there's no planet in Aquarius in either natal chart. (First two pics below by Andy Warhol)








No Aquarius planets, but there are a few significant similarities.







The chart shape in both cases is a "funnel" or "bucket", with one planet out on a limb, as a "funnel" or "handle" and acting as conduit for the energies of the rest of the chart. In Warhol's case it's Saturn, in Lichtenstein's it's Uranus. Saturn and Uranus are traditional and modern rulers of Aquarius respectively. Something else, too - in each case the "funnel" planet is within 6 degrees of South node of the Moon - one of the sensitive points in any chart. Odd!

Both charts have Grand Trines involving Uranus. Sun/Saturn/Uranus in Fire for Warhol. Pluto/Uranus/Venus in Water for Lichtenstein.

Uranus was in Aries when Warhol was born, it trined his Leo Sun. When Lichtenstein was born Uranus lay in Pisces and it trined(just) his Scorpio Sun.

These Uranus related coincidences must surely be more than mere chance?

There may be other similarities too, if we had birth time for Lichtenstein.

EXTRACT

"Warhol revolutionized the Pop Art Movement by transforming average, everyday items such as soup cans into celebrated works of art....... His eccentric persona attracted many celebrity writers, actors and artists, and his popularity rose to cult status.

Roy Lichtenstein tried many artistic styles including abstract expressionism, the dominant art movement of the 1950s, before experimenting with budding pop art imagery, his interest in the style of cartoons motivated him to create his signature technique, which incorporates Ben-Day dots, lettering and speech balloons juxtaposed with vibrant primary colors. Lichtenstein worked exhaustively finessing his signature style through painting, printmaking and sculpture.

Many commonalities exist between Warhol and Lichtenstein. They both explored similar themes in their work including comics, advertisements, politics, portraits and nature. In particular, both Warhol and Lichtenstein used the process of printmaking, which mimicked the commercial sources of their imagery and allowed the artists to easily create multiple pieces."


I've also read that Lichtenstein and Warhol collected each other's work.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Pluto in Capricorn Avant-garde ?

Religion is coming well and truly under fire these days. Is this a foretaste of what Pluto in Capricorn might bring, I wonder? Transformation (Pluto) of the status quo (Capricorn), especially transformation of long established doctrines and organisations, church and religion for example.

Books with anti-religious themes have appeared, one after another in the past few years. Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Christopher Hitchens(God is not Great), Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell), Victor Stenger(God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist) , Sam Harris (End of Faith, and Letter to a Christian Nation)are few authors who have clambered aboard this money-spinning bandwagon. It's always money, isn't it? Why do I feel so cynical about this, when I am also cynical about organised religion myself? Somehow, news of these books makes me uncomfortable, but if this is a hint of what's to come I'd best get used to it!

I watched Bill Maher, one of my favourite Americans on Larry King Live on Tuesday evening. He announced that he has made a new documentary , as yet un-named, about religion. Bill Maher's views on the subject are well known by his fans, it's no surprise that this film will be in Michael Moore mode. I'll wait to see it next year before criticising and drawing conclusions. Bill said that his stance is not actually atheistic, it's "I don't know". Same here! Is that what we all should be saying really? Nobody knows - do they?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Astrology

Astrologer Lynn Hayes has written about Richard Dawkins, and his determined skepticism about astrology, in two interesting entries in her blog "Astrological Musings".

I've always found this skepticism a fascinating subject, living as I have for most of my life among, at best, the astrologically indifferent or agnostic. "Why am I different?" I used to ask myself this regularly. I've given up worrying. I am what I am.

American astrologer and excellent writer, Grant Lewi, in his book "Astrology for the Millions", at chapter one said

"I believe in astrology for the same reason that you believe in the multiplication table or the intoxicating effects of alcohol. It works."

That's how I feel too, about the basics. I do harbour doubts about what I call "the twiddly bits" in astrology. The fact that scientists have so far been unable to pin down any kind of proof makes no difference, it still works. Scientists must be looking in the wrong places for the wrong things.

Two favourite articles from the internet, which I'd recommend to anyone who hasn't seen them before, are William D. Tallman's "A Rational Basis for Astrology", and "Another Approach to Astrology".

In the second of those articles Mr. Tallman puts forward a theory that there may be a kind of sensitivity to astrology and astrological effects in some people. What he says kind of supports what I understand Lynn to say in her blog (linked above)- too much sensitivity to "mystical" stuff might turn a person against it. Here's a brief extract from Mr Tallman:

"As the sensitivity increases, so then does awareness in some form. Below that line of demarcation, sensibility is a negative experience, because it isn't strong enough to supply any useful value.
The stronger the sensitivity, however, the stronger the negative response, because the more conscious the awareness. Above that line of demarcation, we might suppose that the sensibility is a positive experience, because it is found to supply some useful value. Actually that line is probably a zone of some size, within which those levels of sensitivity are found to produce discernible angst about the subject in general. So we can conclude that the most vehemently negative views about astrology might actually be held by people whose level of sensitivity is only slightly below the levels of those who have reason to hold positive views. Speculation, of course, but interesting, I think. "


And in summing up, he says, (amongst other things):

"1) There is an astrological "mechanism", a function, if you will, by which celestial configurations are linked to terrestrial phenomena. Although it would be easy to assume that this function is of a cause-effect nature, it seems prudent to avoid doing so. The reason we know that the function exists is because it is necessary to use an ephemeris to practice astrology, which means that a knowledge of the celestial configurations is primary to the process. If this were not true, then a random sort placement of the planets, etc. would serve dependably, and if the tradition of astrology has any validity at all, this is not the case"

It's a great pity that Richard Dawkins would probably be unwilling to open his mind for long enough to read those articles.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Stardust" and Neil Gaiman

A name for movie buffs to watch in the near future will be Neil Gaiman, born November 10 1960 in Portchester (Portsmouth), UK. He's the author of "Stardust" a book made into a movie, just released. A couple more films based on his writing are due for release later this year. He has lived in the USA since the 1990s.

Gaiman is another writer of the J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett style. Fantasy, magic, fairytales, all spiced with humour and a soupcon of modern-day "cool", are his stock in trade. He started out writing for comics (known to the elite as graphic novels). I felt I'd seen Neil Gaiman's name somewhere before - he wrote "Don't Panic", which is the story of Douglas Adams' wonderful "Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy", and its rise to fame.



(12 noon chart above, no birth time available)
The planets fall into one half of the chart - this configuration is known as a "bowl" pattern by astrologers. I've noticed that it's quite common among famous people. This may be due to the energy of the chart being concentrated on just six zodiac signs - more intense focus on the chosen career or interest, perhaps?

Sun, Mercury, Neptune all in Scorpio at 18, 11 and 9 degrees respectively. And some synchronicity here - I wrote about planetary nodes yesterday - well Neil Gaiman's natal Sun is on the planetary South node of Mercury at 18 Scorpio ! What better line-up for a fantasy writer? Mercury (writing planet) and Neptune(fantasy) in Scorpio (magnetic) conjoin to give his pen, or typing fingers, that essential touch of magical know-how. I don't know his time of birth, but whatever it is, the Moon would have to be in showy Leo.

I was at first surprised to find there are no planets in Air signs in this chart. The element of Air in astrology is usually connected to communication, e.g. writing. Perhaps the unknown ascendant provides some balance. But on second thoughts, Neil Gaiman isn't a cool airy intellectual, he's a storyteller, a weaver of magic, as described by those Scorpio planets.

This author is prolific, in addition to his other work he even writes a blog daily (HERE) - how surprising is that? Saturn in the sign it rules, Capricorn, is opposite Mars in Cancer, forming the base of the "bowl". Mars trines and Saturn sextiles Sun, indicating that energy for, and application to his work are permanent factors in this man's personality. Venus in Sagittarius trines Uranus in Leo. I wonder if Venus in Sagittarius relates to his immigration (I have this placement too).

We saw "Stardust" at the weekend. I enjoyed it, but didn't feel it was a good as it could have been. The basic plot was fun, but I was jarred by some of the dialogue and a few of the performances were definitely second-rate. I'd have preferred to see unknown actors playing the lead parts. Claire Danes (the fallen star) and Charlie Cox (the hero) had little appeal. A couple of unknown amateurs could probably have brought more magic to these characters. Ricky Gervais's dialogue, and costume for me, was way out of place. I felt quite embarrassed! None of this is the fault of the author, of course. I haven't yet read the book "Stardust", but I intend to do so, as well as another of Mr Gaiman's works "American Gods".

There's an illuminating article about Gaiman, from 2005 in the UK Daily Telegraph HERE, also an hour long YouTube presentation "Google Authors" featuring Neil Gaiman . I found it fascinating. He comes over as a very likeable guy, and he looks SO Scorpio! An audience member asks him, towards the end of the interview, whether he's interested in Tarot. He is. Of course!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Planetary Nodes

It appears that there are yet more sensitive points to be found in our natal charts - those formed by the nodes of the planets. These are calculated in the same way as the Moon's nodes, they are "points at which the orbits of the planets intersect the ecliptic, because of the inclination of their planes to the plane of the Earth's orbit." (Definition from Nicholas deVore's Encyclopedia of Astrology).

In her book "Here and There in Astrology", Ivy M. Goldstein-Jacobson says "the nodal points move not more than a degree and a half in a hundred years...... these are of value by conferring something of their own nature on the person whose planets they conjoin, thus explaining some of his special leanings to that extent.....a planet on one of these nodes at birth has that nodal vibration inborn and lasting throughout life"
There's further information about each planet's nodes from Jim D'Amato, at "Planetary Nodes" HERE. (It's necessary to forage among the adverts, but everything is there!)

The current position of planetary nodes can be found at Astrology Weekly HERE and HERE for 2006 and 2005 ( Jim D'Amato's and Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson's information is for dates around 1960).

Finding the exact position of planetary nodes at one's time of birth could be tricky, I guess. Anyway, for 1960-ish here are the rounded-off positions(North/South). For most adults these nodal positions are not likely to differ by more than a degree or so in their natal charts.

Mercury 18* Taurus/Scorpio
Venus 16* Gemini'Sagittarius
Mars 19* Taurus/Scorpio
Jupiter 10* Cancer/Capricorn
Saturn 23* Cancer/Capricorn
Uranus 13* Gemini/Sagittarius
Neptune 11* Leo/Aquarius
Pluto 20* Cancer/Capricorn

I have no planets within a degree of any of these positions, but I notice, from a quick look at the chart of my husband (HeWhoKnows), that Neptune's North node is less than 2 degrees from his ascendant. That might well contribute to the many Piscean traits I see in him, which conflict sharply with his Aries Sun !

Here's another tidbit from Nicholas deVore's Encyclopedia of Astrology:

"One authority states that a lunation or eclipse on the South Node of a planet tends to release a destructive force of the nature of the planet involved. For example, conditions centering around Saturn's South Node may indicate a drought following an unusually hard winter"

Sunday, August 12, 2007

On the agenda for 2012

Maybe this is what the Mayans foresaw so many centuries ago, for 2012?

We're certainly heading for The Age of Aquarius, at breakneck speed, if this is any indication!

"Space Hotel sees 2012 opening"

By Pascale Harter
BARCELONA (Reuters) - "Galactic Suite", the first hotel planned in space, expects to open for business in 2012 and would allow guests to travel around the world in 80 minutes.
Its Barcelona-based architects say the space hotel will be the most expensive in the galaxy, costing $4 million for a three-day stay.
During that time guests would see the sun rise 15 times a day and use Velcro suits to crawl around their pod rooms by sticking themselves to the walls like Spiderman ............................................
In an era of concern over climate change, Galaxy Suite have no plans so far to offset the pollution implications of sending a rocket to carry just six guests at a time into space.
"But," says Claramunt, "I'm hopeful that the impact of seeing the earth from a distance will stimulate the guests' urge to value and protect our planet."


(We can only hope!)................Full article HERE.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Venus Retrograde

I'm trying to follow the advice of astrologers (Jonathan Cainer, for instance) to look back to between late July and early September 1999, when Venus was in retrograde motion in the same part of the zodiac as now, between the latter part of Leo and early Virgo.

Jonathan says:

"Think about the dramas that were being played out in your life, in the lives of those around you, and on the world stage. Now look carefully at what's going on. The details may be different, but in the sentiment and spirit of many a situation, there is an uncanny echo."

That is not as easy as it sounds - not for me, anyway. Life has changed so much, both personally, in the USA, and in the world. If, as astrology teaches, the patterns of life are cyclic, like the movement of the planets ("as above, so below") I'd best steel myself and do as I'm told!

1999 was another lifetime. Before 9/11, before I owned a computer, before my late partner's health slipped into its last slow decline, and of course, before I left the UK. I could, with the benefit of hindsight, see 1999 as the run-up to a gateway, which led to a dark tunnel, through which it became essential to travel before being able to re-emerge into the light. In a way it was the same for the USA, it was just prior to the 2000 election. That election led into years of murkiness, 9/11, Iraq, Katrina, etc. from which the country still hasn't emerged.

It's not that any of those difficulties can be blamed solely, or at all, on poor old Venus retrograde - that would be silly. But I'm trying to see a parallel between what I experienced personally between then and now, and what this country (USA) has experienced. We've both moved on so far since 1999, that I can't begin to envision what, if anything, the current retrograde period might mean as part of a cyclic pattern. I only sincerely hope that it will not in the same league as the cycle which followed 1999! If I'm still around in 8 years' time, when Venus reaches the same point again, - I'll let y'all know how it went.

Merle Haggard wrote a song many years ago which goes as follows (perhaps he wrote it during a Venus retrograde period!) These lyrics prove that old saying, "the more things change, the more they remain the same".... and round and around we go!

Wish a buck was still silver.
It was, back when the country was strong.
Back before Elvis; before the Vietnam war came along.
Before The Beatles and "Yesterday",
When a man could still work, and still would.
Is the best of the free life behind us now?
Are the good times really over for good?

Are we rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell?
With no kind of chance for the Flag or the Liberty bell.
Wish a Ford and a Chevy,
Could still last ten years, like they should.
Is the best of the free life behind us now?
Are the good times really over for good?

I wish coke was still cola,
And a joint was a bad place to be.
It was back before Nixon lied to us all on TV.
Before microwave ovens,
When a girl could still cook, and still would.
Is the best of the free life behind us now?
Are the good times really over for good?

Are we rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell?
With no kind of chance for the Flag or the Liberty bell.
Wish a Ford and a Chevy,
Could still last ten years, like they should.
Is the best of the free life behind us now?
Are the good times really over for good?

Stop rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell!
Stand up for the Flag and let's all ring the Liberty bell!

Let's make a Ford and a Chevy,
Still last ten years, like they should.
'Cos the best of the free life is still yet to come,
The good times ain't over for good.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sun & Moon (Arty-Farty Friday #16)

Post removed by administrator.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Astrology and Heredity


I've always felt fairly confident, from personal experience, observation and a little bit of Aquarian logic, that astrological traits flow through families, but it seems that when subjected to rigorous testing the theory doesn't hold up. Michel Gauquelin carried out exhaustive research in the 1960s and 70s without finding anything as conclusive as astrologers might have expected.

I have a copy of Gauquelin's book "Planetary Heredity". It's not easy reading! Here's what he had concluded by Chapter 9:

"For the convenience of the reader, let me summarize the main findings. My investigations of over 25,000 deliveries have found that children tend to be born when the same significant celestial body (the Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter or Saturn) is in the same diurnal zone (rise culmination, or outside) as it was at the birth of their parents. There is no effect for the Sun or other planets, or for astrological signs, aspects and houses. The effect is not influenced by sex, duration of labor or birth order. It is increased if both parents share the same diurnal positions. It tends to disappear if the birth is artificially induced. The effect is not large, but is reproducible and statistically highly significant."

So "something is going on", but not exactly as previously surmised. I just wonder though, if going up close with a powerful microscope, as Monsieur Gauquelin did so efficiently, doesn't blind us to the bigger picture. If you examine an oil painting up close with a magnifying glass, you do not see what the painting portrays, you see only random, meaningless brush strokes.

Astrologer C.E.O. Carter points out in his Encyclopedia of Psychological Astrology :

"However, it cannot be doubted that any part of the nativity may represent an inherited trait, and the examination of the nativities of members of the same family confirms this. In a case known to the writer, the father and his three sons, and six out of ten grandchildren, had Saturn in either Aries or Cancer! It is also frequently found that the same sign is prominent in the great majority of the horoscopes of a family, containing, as a rule, one of the Lights, or the ascendant."

I can't help thinking that there's something else - something important that we just don't know yet, which needs to be included in the equation, before scientists like M. Gauquelin can get a clear view of the big picture.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

"The Moon, stars and all the planets" fell on President Truman

62 years ago this week, at the end of World War 2, the then President of the USA, Harry S. Truman, authorised use of atomic weapons against Japan after its refusal to surrender in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration.

Harry S. Truman was born May 8, 1884 in Lamar, Missouri. At the time of the bombings, 6 and 9 August 1945, according to my ephemeris, transiting Saturn at 18 Cancer sextiled his natal Sun, transiting Mars at 9 Gemini was conjunct natal Saturn and transiting Pluto at 9 Leo sextiled natal Saturn. Transiting Uranus at 16 Gemini sextiled natal Mars. All the planets traditionally thought of as "malefic" were closely involved with the President's natal chart on those fateful dates.



Harry S. Truman had been Vice President for less than three months when President Roosevelt died. Shortly after taking the oath of office, Truman said to reporters:

"Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me now. I don't know if you fellas ever had a load of hay fall on you, but when they told me what happened yesterday, I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me."

It seems to us, looking back 62 years later, that they had indeed fallen on him, carrying with them a heavy load of terrible and terrifying responsibility.


HIROSHIMA:
* At 8:15 am on August 6, 1945, an American B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay dropped a 10,000-pound uranium 235 bomb on Hiroshima, instantly killing about 78,000 people. By the end of 1945, the number of dead had reached about 140,000 out of an estimated population of 350,000.
* The bomb, nicknamed "Little Boy," exploded about 600 metres above the centre of the city, setting off a surge of heat reaching 4,000 degrees Celsius across a radius of about 4.5 km.

NAGASAKI:
* Three days later, at 11:02 am on August 9, 1945, the United States dropped a 10,000-pound plutonium-239 bomb, nicknamed "Fat Man", on Nagasaki. Continued...
* It exploded about 500 metres above the ground, instantly killing about 27,000 of the city's estimated population of around 200,000. By the end of 1945, the number of dead due to acute radiation exposure reached about 70,000.

These anniversaries come as a stark reminder to us, at a time when talk of further warfare in Iran is being bandied about with such ease that it could refer to picking strawberries. THIS is where war leads us. We must never forget it.

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. (Albert Einstein)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Stan Freberg - Leo Laughmaker

While the Sun remains in the zodiac sign of Leo there's no lack of material for astrologers and astrology bloggers who like to write about entertainers, actors and comedians as birthdays come around. You'd struggle to find a list of birthdays late July to mid-August without some household name from the entertainment world appearing in it. Sun signs are not the be-all and end-all, of course, but in the case of entertainers, having the Sun in Leo certainly gives a person a kick-start!

I'm choosing comedian, actor, satirist, and advertising genius, Stan Freberg. It's his birthday today. Born August 7th, 1926. (Sun conjunct Mercury in Leo along with Neptune, and probably Moon in Leo too. Venus conjunct Pluto in Cancer, trine Saturn in Scorpio.)

I found Stan's autobiography "It Only Hurts When I Laugh" on my husband's bookshelves. In the early chapters he tells how, "radio changed forever the life of this introverted South Pasadena kid". He'd lie with his ear jammed up to the radio for hours on end. He says:

"I knew one thing - I knew I wanted to stand at a network radio mike someday and be able to write just the right line to skewer some of the absurdities I was already observing in the world: the Pasadena rich kids looking down their noses at people they decided weren't worthy of being included in the "in" group; the other boys treating sports with such deadly seriousness; some of my father's overly pious church members with their tight mouths all squinched up to ward off any possibility of "fun" in this world; along with the pompous attitudes I detected in the voices of politicians and public figures on the radio. I knew I wanted to write and perform someday, as my idol Fred Allen did, taking potshots at the pretensions and nonsense all around us."

Yay!! I detect a hint of Aquarius there. I see that Mr Freberg's natal Jupiter is, indeed, in Aquarius, right opposite Neptune in Leo.

It's quite likely that a lot of folks, with less years under their belts than yours truly, may not be familiar with Stan Freberg's recordings and broadcasts. His satire and parodies were a delight - incisive without ever being cruel - he got away with a lot because of an innate charm and an empathy to which most listeners could relate.

Here's a YouTube presentation of one of his recordings "Take An Indian To Lunch". With current focus on the 2008 election, this seems oddly approriate now.("Who are you taking to the witch-burning Saturday night?) Love it!
N.B. "Indian" = Native American, not Indian from India!



Monday, August 06, 2007

George Michael, and John Lennon's piano

"The piano on which John Lennon composed "Imagine," his famous ode to peace and healing, is on a yearlong magical mystery tour of the U.S. with a macabre twist.
The nutmeg-colored Steinway upright, believed to have been in Mr. Lennon's country home in Ascot, England, is crisscrossing the country to show up at some of the nation's most horrific sites of violence, death and destruction........British pop singer George Michael and his longtime partner, Kenny Goss, a Dallas gallery owner, are the force behind the tour."

Full article by Ann Zimmermen at Wall Street Journal on-line HERE.

I've always enjoyed George's singing. I especially like a CD of his called "Songs From the Last Century". It's been necessary to turn a blind eye to his unwise carryings-on, he has been caught in flagrante, in the glare of publicity, on more than one occasion. He hasn't harmed anybody but himself, after all, but I do feel like giving him a little slap for so injuring his reputation.

George Michael was born 25 June 1963 either in London or Bushey, Hertfordshire, UK (not far between them).

This latest news story shows George's softer, more caring side, I think. Cancer Sun and three planets in Virgo probably help to balance that other, wild side of his. Natal Moon would be in Leo, unless he was born after 11pm. Mercury and Venus conjoin in Gemini.

There are two Yods in this chart, which I suspect are quite significant, and seem be connected, complementary even.(I've drawn them in on the chart below). One has the sextile between Neptune and Mars, pointing, via inconjunct aspects to Jupiter in dynamic Aries. The other with sextile between Mercury/Venus in Gemini, and Jupiter in Aries, inconjunt the apex of the Yod at Neptune in sexy Scorpio.



Without an accurate time of birth we can't know into which house the apex of these Yods fall, but the planets and signs involved relate to communication, publication/exaggeration, energy, love, imagination, maybe some kind of addiction (Neptune). Neptune and Jupiter feature in both formations.

Astrologer Bob Marks on his website (HERE) has this to say about Yod configurations:

The “energy” of the two planets making the sextile seems directed to the house and sign containing that third planet. The effect of a Yod is said to be “fated” or show some special destiny. Oh sure, it sounds really impressive when you tell a client “Hey, you have a special destiny!” However, that’s nothing more than a “Barnum statement” and really says nothing. All that is really going on is an emphasis on one particular area of the life. Nonetheless, this focus frequently seems driven, compelling.

It seems to me that George Michael has a compulsion related to sex (Neptune in Scorpio), which has, on more than one occasion become public(Jupiter)....are these Yods the key, I wonder?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Inspiration ?.....From Pluto?

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Week That Was

It hasn't been the most comfortable of weeks at Maison Twilight. We've had a virus bouncing around - well, to be accurate, it bounced from him to me. Pesky nuisance. I haven't been able to eat anything that wasn't white, bland, odourless and tasteless, seriously cramping the culinary style of ChefWhoKnows.

The virus must have sent signals to its geeky counterpart, a Trojan who promptly by-passed the anti-virus software and infected my computer. One day was wholly devoted to investigating a variety of virus removal tools. The free scan, in each case, came up with a completely different and lengthy list of "serious threats", along with the information that in order to eradicate the nasties one must "register", at a cost of $$... Whilst I don't expect anything for nothing, my cynical side surfaced. If this computer had contained all the nasties listed in all those free scans it would have ground to a halt and expired long ago.

(She, scornfully): "I bet this is a marketing ploy!"

(He, sarcastically): "You reckon?"

Eventually, the invader was caught and evicted, along with a gaggle of others, actual or ficitious. Gaggle doesn't sound right. I wonder what is the communal noun for a group of Trojans or viruses? A troop of Trojans? A surge of viruses?
Anyway, all's clear on the western front, at last.

On Wednesday, I turned from the computer to see a big "something" advancing across the living room carpet. It didn't appear to have wings, so I bravely inspected it from above. Little horns, a tail curled at the tip, carried high........

(Excitedly): "Come quick - there's a scorpion! Hurry !!"

HeWhoKnows did a heroic rescue using a big glass jar with a piece of stiff card, and ferried our invading friend out to the field at the back of the house.

In the two and a half years we've lived in this house, a toad, a 4-foot long snake, a field mouse and now a scorpion have paid us the compliment of a quick visit. Word must be getting around - "Hey guys, y'all can go into Maison Twilight, they won't stomp on ya!"

I have no idea which astrological aspects might be involved with this week's inconvenient invasions - maybe the full Moon in Aquarius(my Sun sign) last weekend, lighted the way for 'em all.